As it turns out, the rumor mill was right all along, as Sony is indeed going to close the PlayStation Portable, PlayStation Vita, and PlayStation 3 stores.
Previously, there were reports that Sony was going to close down the online stores for previous generations of PlayStation consoles. However, while this worried a lot of people, far more didn't really pay it any attention. But, now that it's finally confirmed, fans are starting to wonder what this means for digital content for the PlayStation 4 going forward once the inevitable comes and Sony decides to close the online store down.
What Do The PSP, PS Vita, and PS3 Store Closures Mean?
The PlayStation Store is the digital storefront of Sony's PlayStation consoles. It's where players can purchase digital content for their respective consoles. After buying a game or any form of available media, players can then download content and play it on their consoles.
The use of the PlayStation Store made it easy to access the library of games that Sony has for their consoles. However, after last year's fiasco with Nintendo closing down the Wii Shop Channel after 13 days, fans have been wondering what happens if they end up losing access to said digital storefronts forever once they've all been closed down.
In Sony's case, the PlayStation 3 and PSP stores will close down officially on July 2, 2021. Meanwhile, the PS Vita stores will follow suit on August 27.
So, what happens then? Well, just like when a physical store closes down, you won't be able to purchase from them anymore. This means that all digital content currently available on the said stores will no longer be available for sale. At the same time, in-game purchases and redeeming vouchers via the said digital stores will no longer be possible. This includes buying expansions and/or downloadable content, among others.
If it's any consolation though, players can still redeem their vouchers on the PlayStation Stores for the PlayStation 4 and the PlayStation 5. Players also get to keep games and other content that they've already bought previously.
TLDR; Sony isn't taking away what players have already bought. They're just making it so that players can no longer buy games for their PlayStation 3, PlayStation Portable, and PS Vita, digitally.
It's important to take note that this only applies to digital games. It's still possible to buy physical discs available on the market, even after the stores have closed. However, the PSP, PS Vita, and PS3 Store closures is still significant. After all, the closure makes it difficult to play older and classic titles. This especially true for games that don't have remastered versions for modern consoles just yet.
As of the moment, it remains unknown if and when Sony plans on stopping support for the PlayStation Network on the PS3, PlayStation Portable, and PlayStation Vita.
The closure is also another big win for the Xbox gaming ecosystem, with Microsoft constantly growing their list of older titles that players can access on the Xbox One and Xbox Series X via the Xbox Game Pass.